Disney’s Peter Pan may be a slob in the recent Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, but in Fables, he’s a full-blown cosmic horror.
Warning: contains spoilers for Fables #152!
DC’s Fables series has a knack for reimagining iconic characters with dark makeovers, and now, a Disney favorite is getting the same treatment. The concept behind Fables essentially takes iconic fairy tale characters (often the same ones who have been popularized through Disney movies) and grounds them as realistic people with hopes, dreams, and inner darkness. In Fables, Goldilocks is a guerrilla animal rights activist, Prince Charming is a cheating narcissist, and the Big Bad Wolf is a morally complex chainsmoker.
Now, Fables has its work cut out for itself with turning its next subject, the gleefully heroic child known as Peter Pan, into a stoic adult villain. The timing comes at a strangely appropriate time, not long after the release of Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers reboot, which depicts an older, balding former child star version of Peter Pan. While this depiction is largely played for laughs, Fables‘ version of Peter Pan is treated as a much more dangerous threat to the Fables universe.
Fables #152 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham expands the previous issue’s reveal of Peter Pan as the larger villain of this story. This new Peter Pan, all grown up, has a conversation with Geppetto that suggests he’s been keeping the Earth as, essentially, a game reserve for him to hunt lost boys. This version of Peter Pan is not only presented as cold and calculating, but also potentially a huge key to understanding the series and its lore. Geppetto was previously a vicious warlord who ruled multiple worlds with his wooden soldiers, so the fact that he was answering to Peter Pan all along suggests this villain is one of the most powerful Fables has ever seen.
On paper, taking such a whimsical character as Peter Pan and trying to position him as antagonist sounds silly, hence why the afformentioned Chip ‘n’ Dale movie presents its Pan in silly fashion. Yet Fables manages to make Peter Pan into an actual scary character in just a handful of issues. This is where Fables has always excelled, taking a character who readers feel warm and nostalgic towards and depicting them as something more complicated, complex, and even disturbing. After a significant hiatus, Fables needed to return with a bang, and it does so successfully with its evil Peter Pan, revealing he’s the reason Earth is the only world without naturally occurring magic.
Constantly in the presence of a glowing fairy who deals out death on his command, this Peter Pan is a hunter of children on a cosmic level, and an amazing step up in the series’ menacing threats. Disney fans can forget everything they know about Peter Pan as he takes the throne as Fables‘ supreme villain, posing a huge new threat to a world that’s just discovering its connection to magic.
Next: Fables’ Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham Talk Series Return and New Villain (Interview)
Fables #152 is available now from DC Comics.
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